My husband and I found out recently that we are expecting again, and while we could not be happier, our happiness is tinged with fear. The reason is, I think , understandable. After five normal, even easy, pregnancies, and five healthy babies, we suffered the loss of our daughter at 20 weeks gestation. We knew nothing of what was happening inside me until we saw that sad news on an ultrasound screen at 19 weeks. It was a devastating event, and one that we, sadly, had to experience a second time under almost identical circumstances. Suffice it to say, pregnancy is no longer a totally happy-go-lucky time filled with expectant joy for us any longer. There is, and probably always will be, fear.
Still, as with our daughter who was born, healthy and happy, between our two losses, we are choosing hope. In the end, whatever happens will be God’s will because there is nothing in a case like ours that we can do to change the outcome. Either our baby will be born, in October, healthy and sound, and we will welcome him or her into our home, or not. It’s the “or not” part that is scary, obviously. Either way, our baby is here for now and we must do our best for him or her. We can choose to look forward to bringing him or her home from the hospital or we can choose to give up now and await that dreadful day at the cemetery again. We must choose hope, or, in a situation in which we are completely incapable of affecting change, we will fall into despair.
There is a certain morbid comfort in choosing despair, in deciding that since there is nothing to be done, we need not worry any longer. It is easy to give up, and much harder to hold on. As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said, “Those who have hope live differently.” We do. We live with expectation of joy. We live knowing that our child has the hope of heaven simply because he or she is. With despair, there is no expectation and therefore nothing to disappoint. Having hope can be hard, but it is worth it to remain united to Christ even, or especially, in suffering.
I know there are other women, women reading this, women in our families and in our churches, friends and sisters, who are experiencing this same feeling right now. They are either in the midst of a pregnancy that is full of joy but tinged with fear, or they have just lost a child, however small and still infinitely precious. I am begging you, as a sister in Christ: choose hope. Do not let yourself fall into that despair that is so enticing in its emptiness. Choose hope for you child, and yourself. Choose hope and in doing so choose to live your life for God.
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